Mechanics and pathomechanics in the overhead athlete

Clin Sports Med. 2013 Oct;32(4):637-51. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2013.07.003.


Optimal performance of the overhead throwing task requires precise mechanics that involve coordinated kinetic and kinematic chains to develop, transfer, and regulate the forces the body needs to withstand the inherent demands of the task and to allow optimal performance. These chains have been evaluated and the basic components, called nodes, have been identified. Impaired performance and/or injury, the DTS, is associated with alterations in the mechanics that are called pathomechanics. They can occur at multiple locations throughout the kinetic chain. They must be evaluated and treated as part of the overall problem. Observational analysis of the mechanics and pathomechanics using the node analysis method can be useful in highlighting areas of alteration that can be evaluated for anatomic injury or altered physiology. The comprehensive kinetic chain examination can evaluate sites of kinetic chain breakage, and a detailed shoulder examination can assess joint internal derangement of altered physiology that may contribute to the pathomechanics. Treatment of the DTS should be comprehensive, directed toward restoring physiology and mechanics and optimizing anatomy. This maximizes the body’s ability to develop normal mechanics to accomplish the overhead throwing task.

Keywords: Kinetic chain; Mechanics of throwing; Pathomechanics of throwing; Shoulder injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance / physiology
  • Baseball / injuries*
  • Baseball / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis
  • Joint Instability / etiology
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Shoulder Dislocation / diagnosis
  • Shoulder Dislocation / etiology
  • Shoulder Dislocation / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology
  • Tennis / injuries*
  • Tennis / physiology